Why You Need More Sleep and How to Get It
By Genevieve Cunningham
As babies, we sleep all of the time. As children, we begin to fight sleep, resisting naps and staying up as late as possible. When the teenage years roll around, sleep is necessary and part of the lifestyle. Sleeping until noon is the thing to do … but so is staying up until the middle of the night. When we finally reach adulthood, our needs and desires start to level out. We both need and want sleep, but of course now that we have full-time jobs, bills, families, and a million obligations, it’s the one thing (besides money!) we can’t seem to get.
Since we go without sleep so often as adults, it’s tempting to think that it’s no big deal. It’s just sleep … who really gets enough, right? The unfortunate part about it is that a lack of sleep can bring about some damaging side effects. Besides small problems such as a lack of focus, irritability, and sore muscles, too little sleep can also bring some big side effects such as an increased risk for diabetes, blood pressure issues, and heart problems. If you’re constantly left wanting more sleep, check out these tips for getting more every day.
Establish a Routine
Our bodies thrive on routine. Just think about a toddler. When a child’s routine gets thrown off, they go into panic mode throwing tantrums and fits. Adults really aren’t any different except that we can withhold the tantrums. We still thrive on that routine, and for sleeping purposes, a well set routine can make all the difference. Give yourself both a bedtime and a wake-up time. This gives your body and mind a chance to set itself to the rhythm, and after some time, better sleep may come as a result.
Skip Your Stimulants
Stimulants wake us up and put a little pep in our step. This can be a good thing, but when used late in the day, it can keep you up at night. If you’re a coffee drinker, great. But, after your morning jolt, skip the caffeine for the rest of the day. Attempt to replace it with something soothing such as hot tea in the afternoon hours. You should also do your best to avoid sodas with caffeine, excessive sugar, and other similar stimulants.
A lot of people, especially in today’s busy world, try to skip this part of the day. We go, go, go until we finally get home and pour ourselves into bed. If you can, give your body and mind a chance to wind down at the end of the day. This can be good for your sleep as well as for managing stress levels. Even an hour at the end of the day before bed allows you the chance to unwind and prepare for sleep before finally getting into bed.
Sleep is a big deal. We like to pretend like it’s not, or like getting no sleep and still functioning is some kind of badge of honor. It’s not. It’s a bad habit and is severely damaging our health. Use these tips to help your body get just a little more sleep for a little better health and a little higher quality of life.